ABC Song, The
DESCRIPTION: "A is fer Adam, who was the first man, B is fer Baalim, who mischief did plan, C is fer Cain, 'is brother did kill," and so forth through the letter Z, with most lines referring to Old Testament characters
EARLIEST DATE: 1950 (Morris)
KEYWORDS: religious nonballad wordplay
FOUND IN: US(SE)
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Morris, #228, "The ABC Song" (1 text, 1 tune)
NOTES [589 words]: The characters listed in this song, with their Biblical sources, are as follows:
Adam: Two accounts of the creation, in Genesis 1:26-27, in which male and female are made at the same time, and Gen. 2:7ffff., where Adam is formed first
Baalim: "Baalim" is the plural of "Baal," a Canaanite god-name, but the reference here appears to be to Balaam (note the different spelling), a prophet of God whom King Balak of Moab hired to curse Israel but whom God told to bless Israel; the story is in Numbers 22-24. and his execution by Israel is in Numbers 31:8.
Cain: First son of Adam and Eve, who killed his brother Abel; the story is in Genesis 4:1-17
Daniel: The subject of the book of the same name, whose acts of rather stubborn piety are told in Daniel 1-6 (the second half of the book is a series of visions).
Elisha: Another inaccurate reference. Elijah was fed by ravens during a drought in 1 Kings 17:4-6. Elisha was Elijah's disciple and successor.
Felix: Probably the Roman Procurator of Judea, Antonius Felix, who kept Paul in prison for two years without bringing proper charges against him (Acts 23-24).
Goliath/David: The two independent stories of David and Goliath are mixed in 1 Samuel 17. In 2 Samuel 21:19, someone named Elhanan slays Goliath.
Haman: In the book of Esther, Haman tries to destroy the Jews but ends up being destroyed himself.
Isaac: The son of Abraham. The reference to him being "dutiful" is probably to Genesis 22, where Abraham is ordered to sacrifice Isaac and comes very close to going through with it.
Jonah: mentioned in 2 Kings 14:25, but the reference is to the Book of Jonah; in Jonah 1, the prophet is told to go to Ninevah, but tries to flee.
Korah: Korah the Levite rebelled against the Aaron and Moses in Numbers 16; he and his family are swallowed by the earth, and a plague follows.
Lydia: A place in Asia, but the reference is to Acts 16:14-15, 40, where she is briefly mentioned as a convert.
Mary: Not clear which Mary this is, it might be Mary mother of Jesus, Mary of Bethany, Mary Magdalene, or someone else
Noah: The story (or, rather, stories, since there are two sources involved) of Noah is in Genesis 6-9.
Obadiah: Not a reference to the book of that name; Obadiah was a servant of King Ahab of Israel who protected prophets in 1 Kings 18.
Peter: Simon Peter, Jesus's chief disciple.
Queen: Evidently the Queen of Sheba, who visited Solomon in 1 Kings 10:1-13 and the parallel in 2 Chronicles.
Ruth: Daughter-in-law of Naomi, who in the Book of Ruth followed her mother-in-law into exile (which is why she is a "daughter so kind") and became an ancestor of David (and so also of Jesus).
Stephen: An early Christian, martyred in Acts 6-8.
Timothy: An important assistant of Paul. Acts 16:1-3 tells how he came to work with Paul.
Uriah: The story of how David had Uriah the Hittite killed to get at his wife is in 2 Samuel 11-12.
Vine, Branch: Jesus is the "true vine" in John 15:1; "the Branch" as a messianic title occurs, e.g., in Zech. 3:8; compare Isaiah 11:1.
Widow: The tale of the widow who contributed all she had (the "widow's mite") to Jesus's ministry, is in Mark 12:41-44 and parallels.
X for cross: This doesn't work in Greek any more than in English (the word for "cross" is "stauros"), but of course a cross looks like an X
Youth: Probably a reference to Acts 20:7-12, where a boy named Eutychus falls asleep while Paul drones on and falls out of a window but survives.
Zacchaeus: A tax collector who, being short, climbed a tree to see Jesus in Luke 19:1-10. - RBW
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